Could you tell me more about Women of GumGum and how it came to be?
The idea for Women of GumGum developed somewhat organically. Som sought out a way to get all of the women in GumGum together by having them involved in something that was just a little bit more of a community—something not explored before at GumGum. Once we established what we wanted to accomplish through this new community of women, it was only natural to plan a Welcome Dinner for our ladies across all of our offices globally.
What was the dynamic of the WGG regional Dinners? What type of content was being discussed during these regional dinners?
We wanted to gain the most insight and have each dinner be as interactive as possible. That’s why we came up with the topic cards, which Maddie Moore designed so beautifully. Given the size of our LA Office, around 65 women total, we decided to group ladies cross-departmentally, with a lead mentor at each of the tables. These lead mentors (Gina Smart, Sarah Wallace, Sanja Stegerer, etc.) had valuable insights and advice to offer our group. For example, I was in the group with Jennifer Van Hook, the VP of West Sales, who offered such a unique perspective. She thoughtfully created an open dialogue wherein each woman at the table could not only speak to their diverse career experiences but beyond that offer unsolicited advice to each of us (both work-related and personal). We discussed the challenges that women in tech, let alone the workforce, face each day.
The appetizer portion of our meal served as the time for introductions, while the main course allowed us to discuss challenges in our careers. During dessert, we collectively discussed our top three ideas for Women of GumGum moving forward and what we hope to gain from this experience, this community, and this group.
What was the experience of the WGG regional dinners like? How did the experience move you?
It was truly an inspiring evening. I hope we're able to produce more events like this to get everyone together because women do have such a unique perspective to offer. And in general, just at a tech company, sometimes we feel overshadowed. It was very moving, obviously, but also really insightful and impactful. And not all the topics of conversation were around GumGum or around your career. It became a more intimate gathering amongst each group - you got to know one another's personalities, everyone's struggles, who’s a mom, who's still in school, etc. Learning more about their perspectives and where people come from was something I really enjoyed. For example, someone in my group is from Tokyo, so she has a unique and different perspective on women in the workplace than me, or women in other countries/offices.
What was your favorite aspect of these regional dinners?
Definitely being amongst a group of inspiring women with diverse perspectives. I think everyone appreciated that they were in a group of co-workers they don’t get a chance to talk to very often, or work with directly and get to know one another on a more personal level. I loved seeing our group of smart and successful women come together to understand collectively what we're trying to achieve as women in the workplace and beyond.
How do you see these regional dinners growing, and even potentially encouraging other women?
At the end of each dinner, we provided a comment card on the back of our menus where each group listed their top three suggestions for WGG in 2019 and the kinds of events they’d like to see moving forward. Once we collected the cards, we noticed that giving back to our communities was a consistent theme throughout. Our next big event will be a philanthropic opportunity hosted in Q1 across all offices. We will keep the suggestion box open for everyone to keep submitting ideas and being a part of the next big event.
Being a woman of GumGum yourself, is there any advice or a quote you would like to share with other women here to inspire and motivate them?
That's a tough one. I think the quote “Empowered women empower women” resonates on so many levels for me and collectively for WGG. My experience as a woman of GumGum has been one where I’ve learned from and been inspired by other women to grow in my role and know no limits. We’re at an interesting time in history, for women especially, where lifting up one another has never been more important, and I definitely feel that sense of support here.
As for advice? Work hard... but understand what you’re trying achieve in your career and make sure it aligns with the kind of personal growth you’d like to see for yourself.
You can find us on Slack at #womenofgumgum or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to get more involved!